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Standing rigging and served rope.

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Serving was done to mitigate wear and chaffing.  Since this is not a Naval vessel, there is a good deal of flexibility.  There are texts on 17th century rigs and practice like "Young Sea Officer's sheet Anchor" by Darcy Lever as well as a book by Biddlecombe.  The simple answer that I would use is that the section of the shroud that wraps around the mast head would likely to served to a point maybe two feet below the mast head.  The stays would be served where they wrap around the mast head.  If there is a square lower sail, the forward most shroud would be served, but not where it goes around the deadeye.  That is to prevent chaffing from the sail.  That the general idea.  Hope that this helps,



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Service was employed not only to protect the cordage or cable from chafe, but also, and in far larger measure, to prevent weathering and rot which would weaken it substantially. Worming, parcelling, and serving, with each layer well tarred, prevented UV degradation and moisture intrusion. Shrouds were customarily served their entire length, while stays, which had to carry sails fastened to the stays and running up and down them, which made chafe inevitable, frequently were only served at their ends with the "working" length of the stay left bare. When that wore down, they just replaced the stay.


Where there were areas of substantial chafe, as where a yard, line, or sail might come in regular contact with a shroud, other chafe prevention gear was used, such as puddenings or baggywrinkle installed on top of the served shroud or on the offending yard, line, or sail, or both. This latter chafe protection was common practice. It's a whole lot easier to fasten a new puddening or length of baggywrinkle when it needs replacing than to re-serve even a short length of served standing rigging that has chaffed through. It's also a lot more effective than letting a sail chafe against a tarred shroud and get all black and sticky with tar, which certainly makes it even less fun to hand and furl for the crew working aloft.

Edited by Bob Cleek
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for posting the dates of those books Wefalck.  I was guessing without checking my book shelf.  My bad.


There are other earlier references that are out there depending on the period that you are in.  Lees, Masting and Rigging English Ships of War is probably to most complete reference out there, but generally covers 1st through 6th rates and not cutters.  Thanks to Bob Cleek for adding the extra information of all of the reasons for serving.

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